Read:  Ezekiel 33:1-33

They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say.  Ezekiel 33:31

The people of Israel and Judah have been exiled and Jerusalem has fallen, but they still don’t get that their sin has brought them to this point.  Even in the face of the prophet of God telling them as much, they refuse to listen and repent.  

They would come to Ezekiel and listen to him preach and proclaim, but had no intention to change the way they lived.  They found him entertaining.  But God cannot be fooled and mocked.  Just listening to a sermon will not change their fate.  Their suffering will go on until they change.

In vs. 11 God declares, “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people.  I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live.”  It’s not God’s desire to punish, but to save.  Unfortunately, because of their stubbornness the punishment will go on.  For God is not a pansy and if tough love is what will save His people, then tough love is what they’ll get.

As a preacher, I stand up each week and tell people about God, sin, forgiveness, redemption, and repentance.  People love to hear about forgiveness and redemption.  Sin isn’t all that bad when coupled with forgiveness.  But what stuns me is when I hear stories about how people are living the rest of the week.  What’s really going on in their lives.  Clearly, repentance is another issue all together.

Now I am not saying that everybody does this, but many do just what the Jewish people did with Ezekiel.  They show up for church, listen and are entertained – maybe even moved emotionally and spiritually, but then go right back to the sinful behaviors that they came in with.  The decision to change, to abandon sin, to do whatever it takes to live for God somehow never gets made in a substantive way. The results will always be the same. 

Tough love from above.  Remember God isn’t a pansy and He won’t be played.  So stop playing Him and stop fooling yourself.  Choose Him above all else, abandon your sin, and follow close.  It’s the path of life, blessing and purpose.  Everything else brings heartache. 

Lord – I bring my sin to the cross today.  I need your forgiveness, your cleansing and your rescue.  I choose to abandon my sin and stop the game of “sort of” following You.  Today I am going all in with You.  Help me to live out my devotion to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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